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Author Topic: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives  (Read 2418 times)

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Offline Clark

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Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« on: April 02, 2011, 10:43:09 PM »
This question has come up before and there was even a post on BoardGameGeek about: how should modifiers work?

In Legions of Steel, you have a kill number based on range and then various modifiers are added to the roll.  If the total is equal to or greater than the kill number then a kill is scored.  So + modifiers represent a bonus for the firing figure, which makes intuitive sense.

What didn't make sense is that this is not the way, in practice, that the game seems to be played.  What happens is that players know that they need 4+ at short, 5+ at medium, etc., and then they move the number up or down to get a modified kill number based on the modifiers being subtracted from the kill number.  Then once you know your modified kill number, your roll however many dice and see how many, if any, come up with that number or higher (or you look for 6s if you need 7s or 8s).  I don't know of anyone who actually rolls the die first, and then adds the modifiers, and then compares it to the kill number.

I think this is what motivated Marco to make the change in Planetstorm so that the modifiers were inverted, and added to the kill roll.

That leads to the counter-intuitive result that getting a -2 modifier when you are firing is awesome.

There are a hundred ways to skin a cat, and still get to the same mechanical result, but they would cause a large-scale rework of the numbers.  For instance, the die rolls could be inverted so you need 3- at short, 2- at medium and 1- at long.  General modifiers could range from 2 to 6 (or 1 to 5 if inverted) which represents the kill number at short range.  Weapons could have modifiers at each range rather than an associated kill number.  Etc., etc.  I'm not sure how much better the game would flow if any of those changes were made.

So the burning question is whether to

a) Add modifiers to the die roll (As per LOS)
b) Invert the modifiers and add them to the kill roll (As per Planetstorm)
c) Subtract modifiers from kill number (which is the same as "a" but would be described differently in the rules).

Offline sergeant_hastp

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 06:58:41 AM »
I would vote for adding to the die rolls for the intuitive sense.  Then let people do whatever they want to achieve that number.  Having positive mods being '+' just makes the most sense from a perspective of teaching new players and giving examples.

Offline grendeljd

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011, 04:48:26 PM »
I never found it confusing in the original rules, but the shift for Planetstorm seemed counter intuitive.
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Offline Scoutzout

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011, 09:44:42 PM »
I like positive meaning positive...benefici al. Not you get a +2 penalty to NOT HIT  :P (That's like a triple negative)

Other mechanics we have played with (major rework required, but we were just messing with it)
Armor = Target Number at close range

Gremlin Armor 2
Succubot Armor 3
Nightmare Armor 4
Predator Armor 5
Mark III Fiend Armor 6

Modifiers Add or subtract from TN




Offline Clark

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2011, 10:41:52 PM »
Keep in mind there are multiple steps here.

And since the attacker is the one with the dice in their hands, then we sort of have to take their POV.

If you are trying to roll high, then + is good; that is what is intuitive.

Realistically, I was not suggesting that we move to some radical change where we define kill numbers in a different way and then give +2 @ PB+, +1 @ PB, 0 @ S, -1 @ M, etc.  I was just throwing it out there.

Offline Scoutzout

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2011, 11:04:22 PM »
I agree...just throwing ideas out there.

I definitely dont want to have any radical change

Offline Clark

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2011, 05:06:31 PM »
So what I take away from the poll and discussion so far is that we stick with the LOS way (optiin a) to add modifiers to the die roll) but perhaps add a sidebar or footnote about how things are done in practice.

The issue never dawned on me at the time because it seemed so natural from my D&D days: THACO 18, AC 4 target, +2 sword, +1 strength, +1 specialization, so I need a 10 to hit; now I roll. Not: I need a 14 vs AC 4 and get +4 on my die roll that I add after I roll the die and then see if I hit. .

Offline Kindred

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 10:02:11 AM »
I like the concept of applying the bonus modifiers as positives and the negative (penalty) modifiers as negatives.
I can apply the bonus modifiers any way I want... but they should be expressed as +X in the rules. (as you say, +2 sword, +1 STR, etc)

I am attacking AC 14.  That means I normally need a 14 on a D20.
I have a +2 sword, a +2 STR and +1 proficiency. The target has -1 for cover...
this can be expressed as "roll 10 +2 +2 +1 -1 to get 14" or "14 -2 -2 -1 +1 (all bonuses)=10"
the first way is much cleaner and clearer, a + is always a +, in this case.


Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 05:08:22 AM »
While I have agreed in the past that negatives seem intuitively to be BAD and positives GOOD, in practice in several games what tends to happen is the mental calculation first, then the rolling. That means (for my circle of friends anyway) we tend to modify the target number, then roll, and look for dice showing that number or higher - even when the game system demands a roll followed by modifiers, like Defiance.

The range brackets (common to LOS, PS, and the aforementioned Defiance) encourage this. You start the sequence by asking "what is my target number at this range?" I think that's the key to it. As long as you're looking up your kill number, it seems the appropriate time to modify it. Otherwise you end up saying "What is my kill number at that range? Oh it's a four" *rolls dice* "Hey, I got a four. But, oh wait, that's not really the number I need, because +1 for stationary, -2 for the nachtmacher, etc, that dice is really only a 3."

Now, I THINK that this makes most sense with multiple dice. When you're only rolling one it's very simple to say "It's a four, plus one, minus two, aw! Only a three." But if you're rolling three or four dice at once it tends to create a bit of overload: "It's a four plus one minus two, and a one plus one minus two, and a five plus one minus two, and a six plus one minus two, so that makes it 3, 0, 4 and 5."

Anybody got any thoughts on this or am I over-analysing?

Offline Kindred

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2011, 09:57:19 AM »
Although I agree on the way things are done in practice, the +/- must be used consistently and clearly.

if + is good and - is bad, then we know how to apply the modifiers (or vice-versa)

but you should not have + for bonuses and then have + for penalties as well.




Arfiel

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2011, 10:42:39 AM »

Now, I THINK that this makes most sense with multiple dice. When you're only rolling one it's very simple to say "It's a four, plus one, minus two, aw! Only a three." But if you're rolling three or four dice at once it tends to create a bit of overload: "It's a four plus one minus two, and a one plus one minus two, and a five plus one minus two, and a six plus one minus two, so that makes it 3, 0, 4 and 5

I have to agree that knowing your target number before you roll is a better system for war games with multiple dice in a roll.
We used this system when we played (although I often get eager and want to roll right away)


Offline grendeljd

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2011, 11:59:45 AM »

Now, I THINK that this makes most sense with multiple dice. When you're only rolling one it's very simple to say "It's a four, plus one, minus two, aw! Only a three." But if you're rolling three or four dice at once it tends to create a bit of overload: "It's a four plus one minus two, and a one plus one minus two, and a five plus one minus two, and a six plus one minus two, so that makes it 3, 0, 4 and 5

I have to agree that knowing your target number before you roll is a better system for war games with multiple dice in a roll.
We used this system when we played (although I often get eager and want to roll right away)

Yeah, it can't be counter-intuitive to figure out your final target number after modifiers before rolling however many dice, can it? I always found that easiest. Do the math, roll the dice. Anything equal to or over the target number is a kill. Simple, no?

I also agree with Kindred - keep it consistent so that +is good, & - is bad. And I think it is then easier to remember that pluses make your target number lower [good] while neg's raise your number higher [bad].
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Offline bobloblah

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 03:35:34 PM »
I also agree with Kindred - keep it consistent so that +is good, & - is bad. And I think it is then easier to remember that pluses make your target number lower [good] while neg's raise your number higher [bad].
There's a slight problem in perspective here. As a Machine player, my Assault Fiend's General Modifier of -2 is a really great thing..but wait! Shouldn't that then be a +2 to be good? But if I'm the UNE player, that -2 is verrrry baaad, because it's such a large penalty to my roll. So, while consistency is important, you have to decide how you want to look for consistency. LoS did this. In the basic rules, we are always looking from the perspective of the person rolling the dice, which was always the attacker. Did anyone here ever actually have any conceptual problems in understanding how that system worked? Did you ever have any difficulty explaining it to anyone? I mean those as real questions; I never saw those problems, but maybe they existed in other groups.

With the D&D 3.0 and later example that was brought up, all bonuses can stack in one direction because every single target has its own innate target number (its AC). While this might not actually be any more involved (you're just switching who has target number and who has modifier between target and weapon), in practice the LoS system just seems more...elegant. Even with the use of both addition and subtraction.
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Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2011, 04:43:44 AM »
Clearly the + and - need to work the same way  all the time. Thus they would always modify the roll, or always modify the TN.

I agree I never had trouble explaining + good, - bad, BUT in play I always see people working out TN and then rolling. Mind you I always game with the same crowd. The compromise that is most coherent is to work out the total of all modifiers, then look up your to-hit at that range, then apply the total:

"Okay, I have +1, -2, +1, -1. So that's a total mod of -1." *rolls dice* "That's a five, minus one is four. Woot!"

But that then requires you to calculate the modifer then hold onto it while you look up your to-hit.

How you actually do this stuff is assumed by most gamers and never explained. All i'm saying is that even while we all know modifiers in LOS apply to the roll, in other games with the exact same system we end up using those modifiers to figure out a TN and then roll. Maybe that's just a habit. has anyone else actually noticed HOW they come to a winning roll, or is it all gaming habits and instinct?

Offline Clark

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Re: Fire Modifiers: The Positives and Negatives
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2011, 06:00:19 PM »
BUMP - Anyone who hasn't: vote!